read

Vision insurance: Is it worth it?

Vision insurance can be a great way to reduce eye care expenses and protect your eye health, which is a crucial component of your overall health and wellness. Your eyes don’t just give you the ability to see — they can also be helpful in the early detection of other health conditions, tooSo it’s important to make your annual visit to the eye doctor a priority, no matter your vision history.  

With vision insurance, you can reduce the cost of your annual visit and other eye care needs in exchange for a low monthly premium. For those with glasses or contacts, a vision plan can easily save you hundreds. But if you’ve been perfectly passing your vision tests since elementary school, you might be wondering if the monthly costs are actually worth it in the long run. 

To help you determine if a vision insurance plan is right for youhere are some reasons why your premiums will — or won’t — pay off 

 

What does vision insurance cover? 

Depending on where you get your vision insurance and the level of coverage you choose, it can help reduce most eye-related expenses, like 

  • Eye exams, vision tests, and other basic preventative eye care. 

  • Eyeglass lenses. 

  • Eyeglass frames. 

  • Contact lenses. 

  • Lens protection and enhancements for glasses (such as scratch-resistant coating and anti-glare).  

For an upgrade, many vision plans offer additional coverage options for daily disposable contact lenses and discounts on corrective eye surgery such as Lasik.  

 

How will vision insurance save me money? 

Many employers offer vision insurance as a benefit, usually at a rate that can be deducted from your paycheck. If you are self-employed or recently underwent a major life change, a health provider like Humana or VSP is a good option — they offer premiums at less than $20 a month for an individual, depending on your state and plan 

It’s important to note that these monthly premiums, no matter where you get your coverage, don’t include the entire cost you’ll pay for services. When you visit the eye doctor for your annual visit, you’ll probably have to pay for a portion — this is called a co-pay. Depending on your plan, co-pays are usually in increments of $15, $20, $25, or $30.  

In exchange for your premium, your vision insurance provider will pick up some of the tab for your eye-related expensesSo you’re probably wondering, “Is this monthly cost actually saving me money in the long run? This all depends on what you need and how much you use it. Let’s take a look at some of the most common eye care costs 

  • A first-time patient eye exam without insurance costs an average of $181. 

  • Recurring visits without insurance average about $128 

  • The average cost of eyeglass frames without insurance is $298. Plus, if you’re interested in lens enhancements, those can run an average of $171 extra 

  • If you wear contacts and replace them every two weeks, you could be spending close to $260 annually on lenses alone.  

 

Nearly two-thirds of Americans 18 and over report using glasses, contacts, or both — and you don’t need your specs to see that eye care can be costly 

With a vision planthe savings can be eye-opening 

  • A comprehensive exam could cost as little as $15, saving you an average of $166. 

  • Prescription lenses and frames, depending on the brand you choose, can be a combined $70, saving you an average of $228. 

  • An estimated annual savings of $141 on contact lenses. (Nope, you’re not seeing things!) 

 

Why vision insurance might be a good idea  

Spoiler: it’s not just because you need glasses. There are many other important reasons why vision insurance is a smart financial decision: 

  • You have a family history of eye disease or other medical problemsAn eye exam can detect the onset of hidden medical problems, like diabetes. Plus, you may need to increase your frequency of eye exams.

  • You don’t have much money saved. Without insurance, the total cost of an eye exam and glasses can be several hundred dollars. For many households, that’s a lot to part with at once. 

  • You have a family. Vision in children can change quickly and replacing glasses can be costly — but essential. Often, kids with vision struggles may find school and athletics challenging, too. 

  • You have Original Medicare. Annual exams, eyeglasses, and contacts are not covered under Original Medicare. Some Medicare Advantage plans offer extra benefits, like vision, to help with these costs. 

 

When vision insurance may not be worth it 

For the rare 35% of Americans that have 20/20 vision, according to the University of Iowapaying a premium might not end up saving you extra cash long-term if you’re just going for your annual visit. (If your vision ever changes, however, considering your insurance options might be a great next step.) 

Here are a few other reasons why vision insurance might not be worth it: 

  • You have an HSA or FSA. A health savings account (HSA) or a flexible spending account (FSA) can be used to cover eye exams, prescription lenses, and frames, as well as other health needs like prescriptions or doctor’s visits. Both accounts allow you to put away pre-tax money in a special account to use for approved expenses. Depending on your tax bracket, your bottom-line savings can be significant, and it may not be necessary to have a vision insurance plan. 

  • You’re looking at discount plans. Some plans, although with cheaper monthly premiums, don’t pay toward any vision-related expenses. This could end up costing you more in the long run, and it might not be worth it long-term.

  • Your coverage only covers glasses or exams (but not both). Some vision plans do not extend to lens options. If you wear prescription lenses, this may not be the most cost-effective option after all. To be sure you’re getting a plan that best fits your needs, Kasasa Care has partnered with KindHealth to create a digital portal to make selecting coverage (even vision insurance!) a breeze. Check it out here! 

 

Is vision insurance right for you?  

When determining whether or not you need vision insurance, it all comes down to how often you’ll use your plan. Luckily, vision insurance is generally affordable and can offer significant savings on exams and glasses — if you need them. Before making any final decisions, we recommend doing some research (and maybe a little math) to ensure you’re getting the most out of your preferred plan — clear as day.  

Tags: Health